The Calgary Flames said goodbye to their best player in decades on the eve of free agency, and immediately opened free agency by signing depth forward Kevin Rooney to a two-year contract with a $1.3M AAV.
Rooney is a 29-year-old centre from Canton, MA, USA, standing at 6’1″ and weighing in at 201 lbs. He was undrafted and signed by the New Jersey Devils following four years in the NCAA with Providence College. He served as the captain for Providence in his final year. The Flames have likely had their eyes on Rooney for a long time. He was teammates with former Flames Jon Gillies, Mark Jankowski and John Gilmour.
In six professional seasons, Rooney has split time between the NHL and AHL for the Devils and most recently the New York Rangers organizations.
|2016–17||New Jersey Devils||NHL||4||0||0||0||4||-3|
|2017–18||New Jersey Devils||NHL||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|2018–19||New Jersey Devils||NHL||41||6||4||10||15||-4|
|2019–20||New Jersey Devils||NHL||49||4||5||9||20||8|
|2020–21||New York Rangers||NHL||54||8||6||14||54||0|
|2021–22||New York Rangers||NHL||61||6||6||12||18||-1|
He also suited up for the United States at the World Championships last year, putting up one assist in 10 games.
Rooney is a depth centre that will likely slot in on the fourth line at the very best. It’s also possible he spends time in the AHL.
From an analytics perspective, Rooney is an extremely below-replacement level player, and had a truly rough season with the Rangers in 2021–22. Courtesy of HockeyViz.com, the Rangers allowed significantly more chances than they generated when Rooney was on the ice.
It was particularly tough sledding in the offensive zone.
Calgary did a great job turning around the careers for Nikita Zadorov and Erik Gudbranson last season. Let’s see if they can do it again with Rooney.